Let's continue on in our reading of Ephesians this morning. I can't wait to see the promises that await us in these coming verses. I don't know about anyone else, but I find it so freeing and so rewarding to read this book of the Bible. It's one of my favorites, I think.
Here are the first few verses:
"That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!" (1:15-19)
Let's look at these verses again. When we show solid trust in Jesus, we have an outpouring of love to other followers. When we are thanking God for all he has done for us, we can't help but to feel His joy in our lives.
And look at Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, for all of us! He is thanking God for us and he asking, on our behalf that God make us intelligent and discerning in our ability to know him personally. He asks God himself to give us eyes that are focused and clear. He asks for us to see clearly what God is doing in and through our lives. He is asking that we are able to see just how amazing and glorious this life truly is. He is praying for our endless energy and boundless strength!
I don't know about you, but I fail in this department often! I don't pray like this enough. I don't thank God for each and every opportunity that comes my way and I certainly don't pray it for my friends and fellow followers of Jesus. I am so grateful that Paul has demonstrated this for me here so that I can learn it and embrace it in my own life. Will you join me in thanking God for one another? In taking off the Negative Nelly glasses and replacing them with the Jesus glasses?
I'm sure you know that we all filter our lives through very different sieves. Some of us are positive, others negative. Some have trauma and abuse in our pasts, others have the stereotypical "perfect childhood." We all struggle in different areas and wear glasses that go with those- self pity, insecurity, fear, worry, pride, people pleasing, etc. There are glasses for those things too. In this case, the Negative Nelly glasses are all of those negative emotions that you pile onto every experience. It's all that negative self talk that goes through your head as you walk through life. You see the glass half empty. You wait for the other shoe to drop.
But the Jesus glasses look past all of that. They see the beauty in the sunrise, not the long drive to work. They see the blessing that is your baby, not the crying that had you up all night. They see the privilege of staying home while your family is working or at school, not the loneliness that might consume you. Those Jesus glasses make you thankful for everything that happens all around you because you know that God's greater purpose is at work. I don't wear them enough, but I'm trying to get better. Will you?
Let's keep reading:
"All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence." (1:20-23)
I can't tell you what a relief it is to read those verses. I have never really enjoyed being the one in charge. I much prefer to let others lead and then lend support where they need me to give it. And according to this, I don't have to be in charge. Jesus is already doing it!
But this serves as a great reminder too. It makes me question, when I decide to do something, am I asking God if it's the right move each time or just going ahead and doing my own thing? Am I praying about everything and waiting for him to guide me or charging ahead and asking God to bless the plans I've already made? I think it's important to get things done in the right order here.
Today my prayer is that I can get better at donning my Jesus glasses and checking in with him throughout my day. It's my prayer for anyone reading this as well. I pray that we all get better at this. I pray we all stop finding everything wrong and start seeing the things that are right. I pray that we can develop thankful hearts and that we can be constantly talking to Jesus throughout the day.
Be blessed today and don't forget to be a blessing!